Photo Caption: Happy Monday. We hope this week holds great things for you wherever you are in the world. Waking up under table mountain always helps to start the week off well.
Who knows where this epic view of #tablemountain is from? 📷 @rivervoyages

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Signal Hill is a 300-meter-high, flat-topped hill located right next to Lion’s Head and Table Mountain. This hill is one of the most popular and most visited landmarks in Cape Town. Back in the day, signal flags were used to communicate weather warnings to the ships in the bay. In the same manner, the ships used flags to signal for assistance. Thus, the name Signal Hill.

There is a road to the summit of the Hill which leads you to the vantage point. Enjoy the picturesque view of the city and the Atlantic seaboard from up high. This part of the hill is one of the best sun-downer and picnic spots in Cape Town. The spacious viewing area has picnic tables and quiet spots, which makes it ideal for a romantic sundowner date.

The Signal Hill drive starts from Kloof Nek. Upon reaching the corner of Kloof Nek and Tafelberg Road, turn right into Signal Hill road. As you drive to the summit, scenic views of Cape Town will unfold before your eyes. Aside from the Signal Hill drive, there are also a number of activities you can try like hiking, flying model planes or paragliding.

Experience a sunset drive to Signal Hill and see the breathtaking beauty Cape Town has to offer!

Seapoint Promenade

Photo Caption: It’s Friday! What are your plans for the weekend?

Here’s looking forward to a great weekend!

We love this shot by @thesamechris from Lagoon Beach

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When you are looking for the perfect shot of Table Mountain from across the bay, everyone will tell you to head to Bloubergstrand. But the view of the mountain from Lagoon Beach is a secret spot that won’t pop up on your average Cape Town bucket list. You can admire the mountain in its full glory from a closer vantage point.

It is also perfectly located for a quick trip from the city center to hunt the sunset or go for a leisurely stroll on the inviting long stretch of beach. When travelling out of the city, take the N1 off-ramp at the highway split, staying to the left. From here take the second off-ramp, heading towards Paarden Eiland and Milnerton.

A great weekend outing to this side of town includes a stop at the diverse Milnerton market, hosted every Saturday (07:30–14:00) and Sunday (08:00–15:00). At this eclectic market you will find everything from antiques, books, and homemade furniture – to wheel hubs, dvd’s, and ProNutro. The market was established in the late 90’s and it has stood the test of time, remaining a firm favourite of Cape Townians. With the wide array of goods, you can find almost anything you’re looking for, and at a great bargain price.

You can also easily travel here with the MyCiti bus. There is a stop across the market as well as next to the Lagoon Beach entrance. View the schedule here.

Once you’ve finished browsing the market, head over to Lagoon Beach just down the road to admire the mountain. Afterwards stop at the Lagoon Beach hotel for a cocktail at their bar with an epic view. It’s the only hotel in town situated right on the edge of the beach. Read more about it in our post here.

Photo Caption: Last night was the first full moon since the  beginning of August.
We are still loving the photos and edits that are surfacing. Like this amazing image combination by @ian_s_thomas.

The image is made up of two separate images edited together in Photoshop. Read @ian_s_thomas’s original post for his beautiful explanation of how and why he created the image @ormsdirect @folkgood @instagram_sa @ig_myshots @ig_fotografdiyari

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Text by Ian Thomas. Ian Thomas is a motivational and keynote speaker who specialises in the lessons business teams can learn from nature, specifically Lion Pride’s.

“Metamorphosis is the process by which a caterpillar transforms into a butterfly. Transmogrify has a similar meaning, but is mostly used where the transformation is deemed to involve sorcery and the result is grotesque or bizarre. In Europe during the Middle Ages, it was widely reputed that the full moon had the power to transmogrify humans into werewolves or vampires. Even today, many believe that its gravitational pull somehow disrupts our nervous system causing erratic, criminal, or crazy behaviour.Shakespeare added to this belief when he wrote, “It is the very error of the moon. She comes more near the earth than she was wont. And makes men mad.” (Othello)

My view is that the full moon certainly influences our behaviour, but not because of its gravitational pull. It changes our lives through the power of its beauty. It entices the spirited to walk, swim, and dance in the moonlight – see song by King Harvest. It has inspired poems and and love letters from Diä!kwain, a /Xam bushman, to Khaled Hosseini, “Go slowly, my lovely moon, go slowly.”

It also triggers our imaginations and we search for shapes and stories on its surface. Some see a bent old man with a bundle on his back accompanied by his faithful dog. Others see a hare, a moon maiden, even a toad. The moon is a cosmic rock and Klipspringers love rocks, but I can’t find a likeness of the antelope on its surface. However, if I combine two images, one of the recent ‘blood moon’ and one of a huge split-rock boulder, you can clearly see a Klipspringer, maybe even two.

A Klipspringer is a small antelope that lives on rocky outcrops in Africa.”

2018 Total Moon Eclipse

On July 27 an important lunar moment occurred. Not only was it a total eclipse, it was the longest lunar eclipse of the 21st century. The “blood moon” lasted for 1 hour and 43 minutes. Earth’s natural satellite caused the moon to turn into a mesmerizing ruddy-brown red colour.

The total spectacular celestial moment, from the moon starting to disappear to it reappearing again, lasted roughly 4 hours. It was not visible in North America, but Africa was positioned perfectly to see the natural phenomena. Other areas that had a good vantage point included the Indian Ocean region, Southern Asia, and the Middle East.

The eclipse occurred on the same day that Mars reached its opposition, meaning it was shining bright in the night sky. Also, July was the month that the red planet was the closest to us since 2003.

What Is A Blood Moon

The great thing about a lunar eclipse is that you can observe it with the naked eye, not like a solar eclipse which requires special viewing equipment. Binoculars or a telescope can be used to view the eclipse more closely.

The reason for the reddish brown or deep red colouring during the lunar eclipse, is an interesting phenomenon. Some of the sunlight passing through the earth’s atmosphere is bent at the edges of the planet and lands on the moon’s surface. The shorter-wavelength light (greens or blues) scatter more. And the longer-wavelength light on the red end of the spectrum remains in the air for longer.

Why Was It the Longest Eclipse of the Century

The position of the moon controls the duration of a lunar eclipse as it moves through the shadow of earth. Earth’s darkest shadow is called the umbra. Imagine a cone extending from the Earth, but in the opposite direction to the sun, and you’ve got an idea of how the umbra looks.

Depending on the movement of the moon, it can either just graze a bit of the cone while moving through. Or it can go through deeper, in the middle of the cone. The eclipse extends when it goes through the middle part of the umbra. During the July eclipse, the moon was at a further point from the earth in its orbit. This means that it looked slightly smaller and it also took a bit longer to travel through the earth’s shadow.

Related: Fun facts about the moon

When Will the Next Lunar Eclipse Occur?

On January the 21st, 2019 the next total lunar eclipse will be visible from North America. It will only be a partial eclipse in South Africa. The total eclipse will last for 1 hour and 2 minutes. If you happen to find yourself on the American West Coast, you will have the best view. On the 16th of July, 2019 another special event will occur. It will only be a partial eclipse, but it coincides with the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11 successfully landing on the moon for the first time. It will be visible from parts of Africa, Australia, Asia, Europe, South/East North America, and South America.

View the eclipses visible from Cape Town. Scroll down for a list of the upcoming eclipses in 2019.

 

Ceres, Western Cape

Photo Caption: From wild flowers to the!

Spring is a funny time? 😳

Did you go snow hunting? Where did you go?

Repost from @jyjywilken – Had a lovely day in the snow today… Made me miss my German Family

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Located about 170-kilometer north-east of Cape Town is South Africa’s Fruit Basket — Ceres. This town lies in a fertile valley surrounded by the majestic mountains of the Boland. The town was named after the Roman goddess of agriculture. It is one of the country’s largest seasonal fruit-growing regions. Ceres produces an array of vegetables and fruits like cherries, peaches, apples, plums, pears, nectarines, and apricots. Potatoes and onions are also grown in the area. Ceres is also home to a factory that produces fruit juice concentrates. The town produces dried fruits and local wines as well.

Ceres is the Switzerland of South Africa. In winter, the town transforms into a winter wonderland, attracting visitors from all over the country. Have fun making snowmen and throwing snowballs in the snow-covered town while enjoying the view of the beautiful snow-capped mountains.

The Best of Both Worlds

In summer, Ceres features breathtaking views and exciting activities. The cherry picking during cherry season is great fun. Or you can experience real farm life on a tractor or horse ride. Other activities include zipline adventures, hiking and mountain biking. You can also take in spectacular views of the Ceres Valley while enjoying a relaxing train ride.

The town has four unique areas. The Warm Bokkeveld is a wide fertile valley and is the center of one of the richest agricultural regions of the Western Cape. Next, the Bo-Swaarmoed is situated at the foot of the Matroosberg Mountain Range and its famous for seasonal snows, cherry picking during season, and breathtaking panoramic views of the valley. In contrast, the Koue Bokkeveld is a mountainous area situated on a plateau, home to large farming estates renowned for their apples, pears and vegetables. Lastly, the Ceres Karoo is a semi-arid desert area with breathtaking landscape views hosting one of the best private game reserves in the Cape.

Famous for its export-quality fruit, breathtaking scenery, seasonal snow, and a number of fun engaging activities. What more can you ask for?

West Coast National Park

Photo Caption: Have you been to see the #wildflowers of the #westcoastnationalpark yet?

Check out our story for some amazing images of what you could experience in #Langebaan.

Tag us in your story if you want it to be featured. 📷 @liezlskykrieger

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The West Coast National Park is a 36,259.8-hectare park located about 120 kilometers north of Cape Town. It stretches from Yzerfontein to Langebaan. In 1985, the park was established with the goal of conserving the Langebaan Lagoon, a Ramsar site, and surrounding landscapes including the islands in Saldanha Bay. The West Coast National Park is particularly well-known for its bird life and for the magnificent colors of spring flowers.

The Postberg Flower Reserve section is unquestionably one of the best places to see the spring flowers. During the months of August to September, Postberg provides a great opportunity to see the vibrant colors of the spring flowers as they bloom in pink, red, yellow, purple, white, and orange colors.  Exploring this wonderland during these months will definitely leave you in awe, as carpets of spring flowers bloom right before your eyes. Some of the most common flower species in Postberg are Suurvy, Bokbaai vygie, Elandsvy, Gousblom, Magriet, Sporrie, Soetuintjie and White rain daisy.

A Wonderful Natural Haven

The West Coast National Park is also one of South Africa’s important bird areas. About 300 bird species call this national park home. There are three bird-hides for great viewing opportunities: Geelbek, Seeberg, and Abrahamskraal.

The national park also has a large variety of animals. Look out for caracals, African wild cats, hyraxes, mountain zebras, Cape grysboks, Cape gray mongooses, steenboks, gemsboks, bat-eared foxes, eland, and red hartebeest.

The focal point of the West Coast National Park is the Langebaan Lagoon. It offers soft sandy beaches, turquoise waters, giant boulders, and asphalt-colored cliffs. The lagoon also serves as the perfect spot for kitesurfing, kayaking, waterskiing, SUPing, boating, fishing, snorkeling, and swimming.

The park offers you natural beauty, stunning views, beautiful lagoon, flourishing birdlife and wildlife, and endless activities. The West Coast National Park is surely a top must-visit destination of Cape Town!

Table Mountain National Park

Photo Caption: Have you ever hiked up #tablemountain or #lionshead at night?
What are some of the items that are critical to take with you?
We love this epic photo of below the night sky by 📸 @reverthex_. Give him a follow for more epic photos

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Table Mountain National Park was proclaimed a national park of South Africa on 29 May 1998. It is managed by the South African National Parks and runs approximately north-south along the range of mountains that make up the mountainous spine of the Cape Peninsula. Table Mountain National Park has three separate sections.

Firstly, the Table Mountain section: Signal Hill, Lion’s Head, Table Mountain, Devil’s Peak, the Twelve Apostles and Orange Kloof. Next the Silvermine-Tokai section: it runs northwest-southeast across the Peninsula from the Atlantic seaboard to the False Bay coast, covering Constantiaberg, Steenberg Peak and the Kalk Bay mountains. And lastly, the Cape Point section: the most southern area of the Cape Peninsula. The two well-known landmarks of the Table Mountain National Park are Table Mountain and the Cape of Good Hope.

The Most Famous Table

The famous Table Mountain is a flat-topped mountain forming a dramatic backdrop to Cape Town. This prominent landmark overlooking the city is not only the country’s most photographed attraction, it is also one of the New 7 Wonders of the World. The peak of the mountain reaches 1,086 meters above sea level., It offers the most magnificent views of the city, Table Bay, Robben Island, and the Atlantic seaboard.

Aside from being home to a large array of mostly endemic fauna and flora, Table Mountain is also a popular destination for adventurous individuals. Hiking on Table Mountain is a popular activity for both tourist and locals alike. The mountain offers hikers a range of routes that vary from light strolls to rigorous hikes. Rock climbing, with a number of routes of varying degrees of difficulty, is also a popular activity. Read our post about the top 5 hiking routes up Table Mountain.

The Cape of Good Hope is at the southern tip of the Cape Peninsula. It’s about 2.3 kilometers west and a little south of Cape Point, on the south-east corner. In history, the Cape served as a stopping point for trading ships sailing between Europe and the European colonies in the East. Today, it is one of the top tourist destinations in South Africa. The Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve is famous for extraordinary land formation, diverse fauna, and unique flora.

Everything You Need to Know about Hiking up Table Mountain or Lion’s Head at Night

When exploring the Table Mountain National Park (TMNP) a lot of hikers enjoy adding the extra challenge of hiking at night. The full moon hike up Lion’s Head is a highly popular monthly event, and some hikers also enjoy tackling Table Mountain at night.

You must be extra vigilant when embarking on a night hike. Both mountains have claimed many lives over the years. Firstly, you must stick to the designated paths to ensure your safety. Next, make sure you hike with a group of people, at least four. It’s advised to keep your group to maximum ten people, especially when hiking Lion’s Head for the full moon.

During peak season both Table Mountain and Lion’s Head are extremely popular. With the increase of hikers, it can become very tedious to ascend and descend the routes. Unfortunately crime incidents also increase during this time, so make sure you remain vigilant on your hike.

Safety Precautions for Hiking Table Mountain and Lion’s Head

Especially during the full moon hike the SANParks rangers will keep track of the amount of people ascending the mountains, and turn people away if capacity has been reached. This is for your own safety and the safety of others.

If you want to hike up Table Mountain during the full moon, make use of the Platteklip Gorge route. This is the easiest track up the mountain, and the safest one to embark on at night. It has a well-constructed trail with rock steps leading up the front face of the mountain. Although it is the easiest route, it is very steep and must be approached with caution after dark.

The road to Lion’s Head is closed during the full moon hike. This is to ensure easy access for emergency vehicles, in case of an incident. You can park at the Kloofnek parking, situated on the corner of Tafelberg and Signal Hill road.


Save the following emergency numbers on your phone before starting your hike.
TMNP Control: 0861 106 417
SAPS: 10111

After an incident, contact SANParks as they collect information in order to prevent future incidents. In the case of a crime committed, you must also report it to the closest police station.

Hiking Check List

It is advised to carry the following items with you when embarking on a sunset/night hike up Table Mountain or Lion’s Head:

  • Water
  • Snacks
  • Cellphone
  • Rucksack
  • Sunglasses
  • Hat and sunscreen
  • Lip Balm
  • Warm jacket
  • Closed shoes
  • Flashlight
  • First aid kit with wet wipes and an emergency flare
  • Health insurance card
  • Mountain rescue numbers

Tips to Hike up Table Mountain or Lion’s Head Safely

Don’t hike alone: there is safety in numbers, not only to fend off crime, but also in case something happens during the hike. If you are the only one in your group of friends who enjoys hiking, why not check out our post about the Top Five Hiking Groups in Cape Town.

Stick to the path: if you’re a regular hiker, it could be tempting to spice up your hike by exploring uncharted territory. But rather keep the adventure for the daytime, even if it becomes frustrating when you have to slow down during busy patches.

Wear closed hiking shoes: the Lion’s Head hike is rated A, and might seem an easy stroll for many. But rather wear proper closed shoes to ensure that you have the best grip on the rugged terrain.

Prepare for weather changes: you might think that it was a sweltering hot day and surely it will still be hot on the mountain. But Cape Town’s weather is notoriously fickle, and the temperature drops rapidly once the sun goes down. It is advisable to be prepared for anything, including rain and icy winds.

No toilets, no taps: pace yourself with the water consumption, unless you are comfortable with outdoor bathroom moments. Also, you can’t top up your water bottle, so make sure you take enough water along to last the entire trip.

Charge your phone properly: make sure your phone is fully charged for the trip and remember to store the emergency numbers before starting your hike.

Keep someone informed: before starting your hike, tell a family member or friend about your hike so that someone knows about your whereabouts, should something go wrong during the hike.

Check the weather: if you are an inexperienced hiker, rather avoid hiking if rain is forecast. Once the rain comes down, the rocks and trail becomes slippery and harder to manoeuvre. Strong winds can also make the hike very challenging.

Share the Hiking Fun with Secret Cape Town

Remember to share your epic Instagram pics with us! Tag @secretcapetown or use #secretcapetown to be featured with our #guesswhere.

Photo Caption: Do you know what this is?
We love this shot from @warren_witte with all its patterned green

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The scenic Overberg region is just an hour’s drive East of Cape Town. It’s nestled between the Breede River (East), the Hottentots-Holland Mountains (West), and the Riviersonderend Mountains (North). It is an agricultural region with breathtaking mountains, hidden valleys, rolling green pastures, and golden wheat fields.

The Overberg’s fertile ground is perfect for growing wheat, barley, and oats. And in 1993 farmers tried a new crop called Canola. It is a cool-season crop, developed in Canada in the 1970’s. The crop is used for edible oil for humans and canola meal for livestock. The oil is pressed from the tiny brown seeds found in pods on the plant.

Earthy Goodness

Canola oil is low in polyunsaturated fatty acids and a good source of Vitamin E. It is a good choice for frying, cooking, and baking. The Canola meal is a good source of protein, ideal feed for livestock. The meal is also a high-quality organic fertilizer for commercial organic farmers. The beautiful yellow flowers are a preferred source of food for bees and the fields also serve as a major breeding ground for the blue crane, the national bird of South Africa.

The best time to tour around Overberg is during late July, August, and early September. The shades of green and bright yellow canola patches create a vibrant, magical scene. Harvest time is between October and November. The plowed fields become an assortment of reds and browns, peppered with hay bales.

The scenic view of the Canola fields in Overberg makes the region a must-visit place not only for photographers but also for anyone who wants to appreciate the magnificent natural beauty.

Photo Caption: Wish it was sunny like this!
Did you go hunting for any secret spots over the weekend?
Great shot 📷 @paper.red.capetown

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Red Hill lies between Scarborough on the Atlantic side and Simon’s Town on the Indian Ocean. The lofty location offers some of the best views of the area and it’s famous for its quiet serenity and scenic beauty.

It is a village of ruins that very few people know about. The hill was once home to more than 70 predominantly colored families who were forcefully evicted between 1965 and 1970 by the apartheid government. These families were forced to leave their homes and relocate to the barren land on the Cape Flats, under the Group Areas Act. They were moved to make way for the construction of a new dam, which unfortunately, never happened. Higher up the hill you will also find an old graveyard with weathered tombstones still intact that dates back to the 1800’s.

SANParks owns a large part of Red Hill. The ruins serve as a reminder of the small community that once flourished in the area. It’s perfect for a fun hike. The hiking is relatively easy with mostly flat paths meandering around a pair of reservoirs. The hike requires a moderate level of fitness and takes about five hours to complete.

Photo Caption: weekend vibes and sunset skies ☀️ .
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📸 @kaleefromtexas

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Situated next to Lion’s Head is the 300-meter-high, flat-topped hill called Signal Hill. What makes Signal Hill one of the best places to visit in Cape is the fact that it offers magnificent views of the Atlantic Ocean, Robben Island, Table Bay, the Harbor and the City Bowl. It is also a great place to watch a beautiful Cape Town sunset while enjoying the best views of the city.

Being positioned high above the peninsula, it is a popular lookout point and signal flags were used to communicate weather warnings to ships below. Flags were also hoisted to let the people know that a ship was approaching the harbour. In distress ships could also use flags to signal for help, hence the name, Signal Hill.

Signal Hill forms part of the Table Mountain National Park and is sometimes called the Lion’s Rump which, together with Lion’s Head, resembles a sleeping lion. This renowned hill is also a popular launch site for model airplanes and para-gliders. Aside from a spacious viewing area, it also has picnic tables and a large parking area.

Signal Hill is also home to the famous Noon Gun. It is located at Lion’s Battery on the lower slopes of Signal Hill. This old-fashioned canon has been fired every day at 12:00 noon since 4 August 1902. Accordingly, its initial purpose was to allow ships in port to check the accuracy of their marine chronometers.

Photo Caption: July 30, 2018 (9:25 am)

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Lunar Eclipse occurs only when the Sun, Earth, and the Moon are aligned. It is when the Moon passes within Earth’s umbral shadow. There is partial lunar eclipse when only a portion of the Moon enters Earth’s umbra. While total lunar eclipse happens when the entire Moon enters the planet’s umbra and the Earth completely blocks direct sunlight from reaching the Moon. This phenomenon is also called Blood Moon because of its blood-like glow. The refraction of sunlight by Earth’s atmosphere into the shadow cone causes the moon to turn into reddish brown or deep red color instead of going completely dark.

The longest lunar eclipse of the 21st century occurred on July 27, 2018, and was completely visible over Southern Africa, Eastern Africa, Central Asia and Southern Asia. It was seen rising over Western Africa, Europe, and South America, and setting over Australia and Eastern Asia.

During this eclipse, the Moon passed through the center of Earth’s umbral shadow. It was first central lunar eclipse since June 15, 2011. The Moon was also at its farthest from the Earth, called apogee, which made it very small.

The moon spent 3 hours and 55 minutes crossing the Earth’s dark umbral shadow. The duration of the total lunar eclipse is 1 hour and 43 minutes while the partial lunar eclipse before and after the total phase of the eclipse each lasted 1 hour and 6 minutes.

Coincidentally, the lunar eclipse happened on the same night that Mars was at its closest to Earth since 2003. The red planet was easy to see with naked eyes shining brightly alongside the mesmerizing blood moon. The extraordinary phenomenon was an amazing sight to see.